Xi'an, China

Liang Yuanwei, 2015 No. 16, 2015, oil on linen, 55 1/4 × 47 1/4".

Liang Yuanwei

OCAT Xi’an Contemporary Art Center

Liang Yuanwei, 2015 No. 16, 2015, oil on linen, 55 1/4 × 47 1/4".

At first, it is difficult to see what is different about Liang Yuanwei’s new oil paintings. In the series titled “Oval,” 2014–15, the artist employs her signature method, meticulously interpreting patterns lifted from found textiles. Liang doesn’t produce preliminary sketches or drafts; rather, she allows the design to materialize in the accumulation of palpable, impressionistic brushstrokes. But unlike her previous fabric-inspired paintings, these sixteen canvases can be read as a single, multifaceted work.

Titled in sequence from Oval 1 to Oval 16, the works evince eight months of the artist’s labor and document her development of a painterly lexicon. They share a motif—sprays of tea roses and wintersweet—but the appropriated patterns are incidental, merely vehicles for her experiments with paint. These works reward many kinds of viewing. From afar, the patterns cohere,

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